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Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles

By Rob Roy Macgregor
August 2008 | Review by John Cook

Synopsis

Calvin pulls no punches. If belief does not end in an increasingly Christlike character, it is as good as no belief, no theology.

  • Publisher: Banner of Truth
  • ISBN: 978-0851519685
  • Pages: 688
  • Price: £57.20
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Book Review

These 44 sermons have been translated by Rob Roy Macgregor, a former professor of French and Latin at Clemson University. An excellent preface emphasises Calvin’s conviction that the purpose of scriptural revelation is to mould the life of believers into the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. William B. Evans adds a helpful introduction and the book concludes with an index of Scripture references.

As a preacher, Calvin used vivid language to gain attention – ‘Hey! Don’t take another step. You are nearing the pit of hell!’ He also thoroughly applied God’s Word to expose sins and encourage true repentance – ‘We must be refashioned through repentance if we wish to receive remission of our sins’. Calvin criticises all false teaching and warns particularly against Romanism – denouncing the Mass as the most damnable idol that exists. However, positive exposition predominates. For example, in Acts 2: 41-42 Calvin identifies the three marks of the Church as ‘the proclamation of the Word of God, the Lord’s Supper, and communion together in true love’ – adding, ‘The Church deprived of the Word is but a chaos’.

One of the most beneficial sermons is based on Acts 4:24-51, entitled ‘The prayer of faith’, which contains this counsel: ‘If we want our faith to be strong, we must consider God’s power when praying and mention the promises which we rely on’.

Each sermon concludes with a prayer in which we, along with the original hearers, are led to respond with humility before God to the truths preached and thus receive benefit.

The clear modern language of these sermons will enable every believer to profit from reading them and this volume is warmly commended to all.

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